Steve Marriott tribute

April 20, 2001  (Astoria Theatre) London

One of London's smaller venues saw some of British rock music's most influential musicians come together to pay tribute to former Small Faces and Humble Pie frontman Steve Marriott on Friday. The three-hour gig at the Astoria Theatre, culminating in the surprise appearance of Oasis' Noel Gallagher, was organized to mark the 10th anniversary of Marriott's death and to raise money for the Small Faces Charitable Trust.

The concert quickly became a family affair, with Marriott's son Toby and daughter Molly on guitar and backing vocals respectively, Ringo Starr's son Zak Starkey playing drums, and late Led Zeppelin drummer John Bonham's daughter Debbie providing lead vocals at various points in the show.

Following superb renditions of Small Faces classics including "Lazy Sunday," "Here Comes the Nice," and "Itchycoo Park," the stage was set for the surviving members of Humble Pie. Peter Frampton, "Clem" Clempson, Jerry Shirley, and Greg Ridley performed a storming set including "Four Day Creep," "Shine On," and "I Don't Need No Doctor". Coming from the man who recorded the biggest-selling live album of all time, Frampton's obvious enthusiasm and sense of occasion was soon echoed by the crowd's rapturous response.

One of the more obscure moments came during a solo acoustic performance of "My Mind's Eye" by former Ultravox frontman Midge Ure. Despite his tenuous link to Marriott, the man who alongside Bob Geldof made history by launching Band Aid provided a moment of quiet before the musical storm of a finale.



Indeed, Gallagher's appearance with ex-Jam/Style Council frontman Paul Weller caused a near frenzy, with the majority of the audience launching into a lengthy chant of "Weller, Weller". Despite their enormous collective, presence there was still no confusion as to who the stars of the show were, with former Small Faces members Kenney Jones and Ian McLagen leading the party on drums and keyboards.

The impromptu supergroup, augmented by Oasis' Gem Archer on bass, gave energetic treatments to "Become Like You," "I Am Only Dreaming," "You're So Good for Me" and "Get Your Self Together." The evening's final two songs found all guests onstage for "Tin Soldier," and a powerful, emotive, and undoubtedly poignant version of the classic "All Or Nothing." It didn't even seem to matter much that the Sex Pistols' Glen Matlock and the Who's Roger Daltrey were no-shows after previously confirming their appearances.

A true celebration of British talent past and present, the event was not only a fitting memorial to the significant talent and influence of Marriott, but a damn fine party to boot.

-- Christopher Barrett, London
with kind permission:
Billboard Online